|Photo by Mimi Broeske|
One of the most important decisions a farmer makes is the selection of high performing, adapted hybrids and varieties. Selecting the correct hybrid/variety can often mean the difference between profit and loss. Increasingly, during the current bio-engineered era, the choice of hybrid or variety that a farmer selects dictates the management style for that field.
Plant breeders and agronomists test thousands of commercial and new experimental hybrids and varieties for several years at many locations over a range of plant populations, other management practices and environments. These crop performance trials determine which hybrids/varieties have yielding ability superior to current commercial hybrids/varieties and estimate disease resistance and other important characteristics.
Since 1973, there have been 1120 trials conducted in the UW Corn Performance Trial program. Within a trial, the average difference between the top- and bottom-performing hybrid has averaged 71 bu/A (Figure 1). This difference among hybrids is a significant economic impact on corn profitability.
For a copy of the 2020 crop performance trials see the following links:
Barley, Oat and Wheat: https://coolbean.info/small-grains/variety-trial-results/
These results are a good place to start when evaluating hybrids and varieties to grow during 2020. Certainly, an on-farm test in conjunction with seed company trials, and University trials would probably give the best information, if all hybrids/varieties of interest were in the trials. Since most farmers do not have the resources to conduct on-farm trials at several locations, using unbiased results from other trials to supplement on-farm yield results can increase the chance of picking a hybrid that will do well next year.